Stress in the Workplace – A Checklist for Reps

• Encourage employers, and work with them, to develop a policy on preventing stress at work.

• Ensure employers carry out risk assessments relating to stress.

• Work with employers to improve areas of work that could cause stress for workers, for example:

  • Demands, ie workload, work patterns and work environment
  • Control, ie a lack of a say over your work
  • Support, or lack of it
  • Relationships at work, for example conflict and unacceptable behaviours
  • Organisational change/restructuring

• It’s important to remember that 1 in 4 workers may face a mental health issue at some point in their lives. You are not an expert on mental ill health and you don't have to be. Supporting and representing members facing difficult situations can be stressful for reps so look after yourself too.

• Signpost your member if necessary to appropriate help and support including their GP, occupational health (where available), family and friends or local and national support groups and charities. The member is the person who makes the decision.

• If you believe that stress may be a problem in your workplace but aren’t sure consider surveying your members. This may help identify concerns and raise awareness of work related stress at the same time. Feel free to alter the survey to suit the needs of your organization. You can access a Stress Survey Template here. If you want to run this survey electronically you should consider an electronic survey tool like Survey Monkey which is easy to use and available free online.

• When you have reviewed the results of your survey you can consider your next steps.

Stress Survey Outcome – Next Steps

• Consider holding a work place meeting to discuss the issue of stress and mental health at work with workers.

• Arrange a meeting with management. We hope that you would have had the opportunity to work with management on the survey, however recognise that many colleagues would not. We would encourage you to set up a meeting with management to discuss the results.

• Work with your Union Health and Safety Reps to carry out a risk assessment. To see a sample risk assessment click here.

• Negotiate an effective Stress Policy for your workplace and build into it procedures to ensure it is monitored for effectiveness and reviewed periodically.. To see a model policy click here.

• Review all other policies and procedures to ensure they are not discriminating against members with mental health problems.

• Encourage your employer to set up a formal Employee Assistance Programme.

• Develop a positive policy statement to publicise to members that the union is tackling the issue of stress and mental health at work.

Women’s Health and Safety at Work Toolkit

Educate Agitate Organise Blog

Educate Agitate Organise: the STUC Blog

Educate Agitate Organise: the STUC blog


union news logo

Union News

up-to-date, authoritative news and analysis for trade union members


Visit the Scottish Union Learning website

Scottish Union Learning

Scottish Union Learning is run by unions for unions.


Thompsons - Scotland

Thompsons - Scotland

Thompsons Scotland